Ethereum 2.0 has successfully passed the first stress tests. The Lighthouse-testnet is already running successfully with 100,000 validators. The new update has passed an important hurdle and is now much closer to the transfer to the Mainnet.
The general overhaul of the Ethereum Blockchain is gradually taking shape and moving towards its finalization. According to developer Danny Ryan, Ethereum 2.0 has already been successfully tested with 100,000 validators. Compared to the previous version, the revised blockchain guarantees higher scalability through the newly introduced proof of stack and also reduces the network load through sharding.
Ethereum 2.0 introduces Proof of Stake
Ethereum 2.0 is designed to solve major scaling problems of the Ethereum blockchain. The capacities of the existing network are constantly reaching their limits due to the volume of transactions and decentralized applications (dApps).
Therefore, Ethereum 2.0 introduces a new consensus method. The previous Proof of Work (PoW) is replaced by a Proof of Stake (PoS). Since this consensus mechanism ensures greater scalability, Ethereum 2.0 can also integrate updates faster than before. In addition, the PoS protects the network against 51 percent attacks and has lower energy consumption than a PoW. The synchronization of network nodes with the network is also ultimately accelerated by the new consensus mechanism.
Bytecode for Smart Contracts running
In a blog entry, Ethereum developer Danny Ryan has provided up-to-date insights into the project. According to Ryan, the bytecode for Smart Contracts implemented on Ethereum 2.0 has already been successfully verified. This is an important step towards phase 0, which is the final transfer to Mainnet. The bytecode runs in the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and takes the code written in the Solidity programming language to convert it into bytecode for the EVM.
Ryan comments on this:
The Runtime Verification recently completed its review and formal verification of the bytecode of the Eth2 Deposit Contract. This is a significant milestone that brings us closer to the Eth2 Phase 0 mainnet.
Another new feature in Ethereum 2.0 is the sharding function. Sharding, meaning the splitting of the Blockchain, means that nodes do not have to store the entire Blockchain, but only parts of it. The distribution of transactions to different shards ultimately results in greater scalability and reduces the load on the Blockchain. Although the respective shards run independently, they must still synchronize with the main Blockchain.
Validators check Ethereum 2.0 carefully
Ethereum 2.0 is currently being tested on several network environments for functionality and possible technical flaws. As Ryan explains, the Lighthouse test network is already running smoothly with 100,000 validators:
One goal of any modern lighthouse test network is to ensure that thousands of validators can run smoothly on a small VPS with 2 CPUs and 8 GB RAM. In the first tests with 100k validators, clients consistently used 8GB of RAM, but after a few days of optimization, Paul was able to reduce this figure to 2.5GB with some ideas to reduce it even further soon. Lighthouse was also able to increase the number of hashing states by 70 percent, which together with BLS signature checking is the main bottleneck in the calculation of eth2 clients.
According to Ryan, the Prysm network also works perfectly:
A few weeks ago the current Prysm-Testnet celebrated its one hundred thousandth slot with over 28,000 validators. Today the testnet has passed slot 180k and has 35.000 active validators. Keeping a public test network up and running while releasing updates, optimizations, stability patches, etc. is quite an achievement.
All in all, the latest developments give hope that Ethereum 2.0 will be introduced soon. Although there is as yet no official launch date, a transfer to Mainnet in Phase 0 in the middle of this year does not seem unlikely.